FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
December 15, 1999
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:|
John R. Winston, 202-418-7450
Washington, DC -- The Commission today announced it has proposed an $85,500 forfeiture against Get-Aways, Inc. (Get-Aways) for apparently violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and the Commission's rules implementing that Act. Get-Aways has 30 days to either pay the forfeiture or show why it should be reduced or not imposed. The proposed forfeiture addresses Get-Aways' continued practice of faxing unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile machines even though the Commission had previously issued a citation to Get-Aways in July 1999. That citation informed Get-Aways that its unsolicited fax advertisements violate federal law and that subsequent faxes could result in monetary forfeitures.
In today's Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL), the Commission determined that Get-Aways apparently violated the TCPA and FCC rules by sending 19 unsolicited fax advertisements for vacation packages to eight consumers since July 19, 1999, the day Get-Aways received the Commission's citation. The Commission found that Get-Aways had engaged in a disturbing pattern of disregard for the Communications Act and the FCC's rules and orders, which prohibit any person or entity from faxing unsolicited advertisements to either a business or residential facsimile machine. Get-Aways continued to send faxes to companies that specifically had requested to be removed from Get-Aways distribution list. The Commission concluded that Get-Aways is apparently liable for $4500 for each of the 19 documented violations for a total forfeiture amount of $85,500. This action is the first forfeiture issued by the Commission involving the TCPA and the FCC's telemarketing rules.
The TCPA3/4which is contained in section 227 of the Communications Act3/4limits unsolicited advertisements that use automatic telephone dialing systems, artificial (computerized) or prerecorded voice messages, and fax machines. The TCPA also directed the Commission to adopt regulations to protect residential telephone subscribers' privacy rights to avoid receiving other unwanted telephone solicitations. The FCC's telemarketing rules implementing the TCPA took effect December 20, 1992.
During the past year, the Commission has received nearly 1,400 letters from consumers involving telemarketing practices subject to the TCPA; over 90% of those letters pertained to unsolicited faxes. The Commission therefore, is intensifying its enforcement and consumer education efforts to ensure that consumers are protected from intrusive and illegal telemarketing practices. In addition to taking action against Get-Aways, the Commission has issued citations to many other vendors who have sent consumers unsolicited fax advertisements. Consumers who have questions about their rights and responsibilities under the TCPA and the Commission's telemarketing rules should contact the Consumer Information Bureau or visit the Commission's web site at www.fcc.gov.
Action by the Commission December 15, 1999, by Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (FCC 99-391). Chairman Kennard and Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani.
Report No. EN 99-1
Enforcement Bureau Contact: Mary Romano at 202-418-7320
Consumer Information Bureau Contact: Pamera D. Hairston at 202-418-1400